(PHOTOS) Energy, Joy Abundant in Gillette’s Children’s Production of ‘Peter Pan Jr.’



Gillette, Wyo. – The magic of the Peter Pan story wasn’t just on stage in Steele Music Studio Productions’ “Peter Pan Jr.” performance tonight, but also outside of it, before the musical even started, with the energy and joy of the children involved.

Campbell County High School student Shyann Allen helped with the lighting for the production, which took place at her school. She said she loved using a new lighting system, but what she loved even more was working with the younger ones. The production included children in grades four through eight, according to a flyer. Allen said she enjoys getting to know them as individuals and seeing their increased interest in what she sometimes considers ordinary.

Just minutes before the musical began on November 11, a child in the audience could be heard singing “Let it Go” from “Frozen.” The energy and joy in the child’s voice matched that of the actors in the production, which involved at least a dozen songs and dances on seven stages.

Bryson Shearer played Captain Hook. Her role was to jump into the arms of Smee (played by Constance Pineda) and another pirate, teaching the pirates how to dance and sword fight with Peter Pan.

Addison Zabel, as Peter Pan, faces swords with Bryson Shearer, who plays Captain Hook. (Mary Stroka/County 17)

Shearer, an 11-year-old boy who has been acting since playing a mouse in a ‘Shrek’ production at age 5, said playing Captain Hook was his favorite role until here. He said he liked the freedom he was allowed to play the role, and he’s been thinking about how to play it even better during productions on November 12. Shearer said he finds the costume and wig getting really hot while he dances, and he tries to be very careful not to hit Addison Zabel’s fingers as they sword fight.

Zabel said her favorite part of the musical is the flight scene due to the quick changes in emotions. At one point, Pan throws a tantrum, and at another, he’s happy, she says.

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Bryson Darrington as John Darling (left to right), Hyrum Olsen as Michael Darling, Kate Holden as Wendy Darling and Addison Zabel as Peter Pan perform the flight scene in “Peter Pan Jr”. Nov. 11 at Campbell County High School. (Mary Stroka/County 17)

She said she wanted audience members coming on Nov. 12 to know two things.

“They’ll laugh at their vocal cords and a sword might hit them in the face,” she said.

She said it took a few days to learn sword fighting for the musical.

Laina Hahn, who is Tiger Lily in the musical, said she learned more about other people in this production compared to when she played Annie in “Annie Jr.”, which was even more of a starring role. .

She said she enjoyed getting to know her fellow Brave Girls. In “Peter Pan Jr.”, Hahn has to speak in third person for some lines, and she’s not at all used to doing that, she said. She said she was grateful that moments before taking the stage tonight, one of the other Brave Girls reminded her of a phrase that encouraged her to be confident.

Hahn said she loved his strength and passion in the musical.

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“I’m loud and I say it proudly,” she said.

The Brave Girls in “Peter Pan Jr.” (Mary Stroka/County 17)

While other characters in the story are intimidated by Tiger Lily, Hahn herself can be very calm and kind in real life, she said. Hahn said she enjoyed seeing the audience’s reactions to the performance, in which the actors worked hard. Auditions took place in September and many people found it difficult to learn their lines in less than two months, she said.

Performances will be at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. November 12 at Campbell County High School, 1000 Camel Drive, Gillette.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, seniors and military.

“Peter Pan Jr.” is presented through an agreement with Music Theater International, and ticket purchases support London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital For Children, as requested by Sir JM Barrie, according to the programme.

Mandi Steele directed the production.

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